We celebrated my daughter's 6th birthday last
weekend. We have a typical routine for our family parties -
conversation, food, and then cake. But our favorite part is
at the end of the party when we show our guests the birthday
It's pictures and video footage of my daughter throughout the
year, and it's compiled into a 10 minute DVD set to her favorite
All of my daughters have a video from each year of their life -
some of them better than others, but all of them capturing
experiences, language, and relationships.
Each one moves me to tears, and every time I watch I feel
gratitude for my girls, their experiences, our family.
My husband is in charge of making the video, and believe me,
it's a labor of love. Weeks before a birthday he works late
into the night, logging footage and finding photos.
I eventually join the process by choosing photos, suggesting
music, and helping him find the right flow.
For as much as I tease him about his perfectionism with this
process, I actually think it's beautiful. We both know how
special the videos are today and how precious they will be to the
girls when they get older.
But while I find joy in this process, I do not find joy in
scrapbooking, keeping a baby book, or keeping a photo album of my
And unfortunately, I often beat myself up about not fulfilling
this "parenting duty", the belief that we are supposed to capture
every moment of our children's lives.
I have scattered boxes of art work, random pictures on my iPhone
and hard drive, and stories in my mind, but I have yet to put them
all together into something meaningful. It's the "thing" I
keep putting off, the "thing" that is always on the to-do list.
But as I watched my daughter's video on Sunday, I finally let
myself off the hook. I realized that these birthday videos
are my scrapbook, photo album, and baby book all put
together. It's our unique way of chronicling memories.
Creativity comes in many forms, and the actual definition of
"creative" means doing something your own special way.
Sometimes I have to chip away at "how everybody else does it" to
discover the way that I like to do it.
And when I do, I realize that it doesn't have to be hard, and
that joy usually indicates that I am fully offering myself and
reviling in my own personal creativity.
So I woke up on Monday with some weight off my shoulders; with
the realization that a perfect photo album/baby book/scrapbook is
no longer on my "list" and that I have just freed myself from an
And now when I take pictures throughout the year I can simply
enjoy the process rather than worry about how they will be
cataloged. And if the picture is especially great, maybe it
will make the cut for the annual video.
Or maybe it won't. But I am confident that there will be
many others to choose from.
And we will create a great video, a video that moves me to
Cathy Adams is a certified parenting coach, yoga instructor and mother to three girls.
See more of Cathy's stories here.
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